Despite universal knowledge surrounding the brutality of the ivory trade, laws associated with the distribution of ivory and rhinoceros horn products across Australian and New Zealand remain completely unregulated, and South African born fashion designer, Collette Dinnigan is on a mission to change this.

There are currently less than 400,000 African elephants and about 28,000 rhinoceros remaining in the world. Both species are looking at extinction by the year 2028 due to the rate at which they are being slaughtered for their tusks and horns respectively. Dinnigan is working with Australian NGO For the Love of Wildlife to safe-guard these species by proposing a ban on the domestic trade of ivory and rhino horn in Australia.

"When I discovered that it's legal to sell ivory and rhino horn in Australia I was shocked. I believed, like many Australians that it has been illegal for many, many years," said Dinnigan. The fashion designer was approached by Donalea Patman, founding director of For The Love of Wildlife to enlist change in Australia.

(Images: supplied)

"As an Australian who was born in South Africa, I know that for Africa's people to thrive its wildlife must also thrive. Worldwide, any trade in elephant ivory or rhino horn that provides traffickers the opportunity to launder ivory and rhino horn from recently killed animals, must be decisively closed, this includes Australia and New Zealand," explained Dinnigan.

To coincide with World Wildlife Day (March 3) the city of Melbourne hosted Australia's first ivory and rhinoceros horn destruction event, aptly named Melbourne Crush. The event, hosted by Dinnigan saw over 100kg of donated ivory items destroyed in a concrete crusher. 

"We want to take as much ivory and rhino horn as we can out of circulation and destroy it to demonstrate the only value is on a living animal," said Dinnigan. 

Collette Dinnigan’s mission to end ivory trade in Australia